So I became a stalker
August 21, 2013 7:53 AM   Subscribe

My ex dumped and me coldly and cruelly one day out of the blue. We lived together and talked about marriage and kids. It was my most serious relationship. One day he came from work and told me to move out in 24 hours and it's over. Then he cut me off like I never existed. This was 1.5 years ago. I still can't let go of my feelings of anger and resentment.

Looking back, the end of that relationship was for the best. He was controlling and bordering on emotionally abusive. I was a doormat. He has never shown support or care when I was ill or had other problems. He really only liked me when I was happy. He always wanted to spend 24/7 together and even though I needed more space, I put my needs aside to make him happy. I spent a lot of time with his family. We went on extended vacations together. Even our families became close.

I never missed him or wanted him back since it ended. Not for a second. So you may be confused how I can't let this go. I am beyond angry at not only how he treated me but also how he cruelly dumped me, kicked me out immediately (I had to move in with my parents as I had nowhere else to go). I sent him a number of emails asking him to clarify some things. He was cold and told me that my emotional well being is no longer his concern and he doesn't care to answer my questions.

I let it go, few months went by. My anger at him was constantly there. I couldn't get rid off it and I hated feeling this way. So what proceeded to happen is from that point on, every 2 months or so, I would send him a very angry email. The pattern was whenever I was down about something in my life (career issues, guy that I was dating dumped me etc), I would have a few drinks and fire an angry email, letting all my resentment out. Mostly how I don't get how someone that claimed to love me so much could just kick me out cruelly and treat me so coldly with zero compassion. What kind of person is he, how he misrepresents himself to everyone that he is a nice guy etc etc. His response was like one sentence "You are crazy". That just made me feel worse and more angry.

Over the period of a year, I did this about 5 times (wrote angry emails), always when I was down. Then I had few good months where things were going better I didn't contact him at all. I noticed recently that he has blocked me on FB. We defrended each other immediately after break up, as did our families. This blocking came after the long stretch of NC from me. I checked and noticed that all his family has blocked me (not defriended but BLOCKED) as did his brother and some mutual friends. That really hurt. I have never once contacted any of his family or friends. (btw I have an alternate account so I could check that I was indeed blocked). It downed on me that he was probably telling his friends and family that I was crazy. This fuelled a new wave of anger that I tried to keep in check.

Last night, I had a really bad night. I was seeing this new guy that I really liked and felt had potential. We broke up because he said that our physical spark is slow to develop. That hurt me. I had few drinks. I logged into OKC. I saw my ex online. I couldn't hold back. I wrote something like: "How could you make your family and friends block me on FB? What have I ever done to them?" his response came in capitals: LEAVE ME ALONE NEVER CONTACT ME AGAIN I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU SEEK YOUR ANSWERS ELSEWHERE.

That shocked me but I responded with just OK.

Now I feel like a stalker. His last message is something people say to stalkers. I cringe at not being able to keep my anger in check. I guess I was hoping for a kind word, but he kept getting progressively more cruel.

I feel so low. I feel like I let myself down by bringing it to that point. I want to turn back the clock so that I could walk away from that relationship with my dignity intact.

I never had this happen with any other exs.

Any advice?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (46 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You're angry because you should have dumped him first.

This guy is a deeply flawed, jerk and as you've stated, you're well out of it.

What if I told you his leaving had nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the fact that he's an asshole? Seriously. That's all it is.

You have a right to be angry, but you've let this yutz rent space in your brain for a year and a half!

Decide now, to stop this shit. You don't have to stop being angry (although you should try) but stop reaching out and lashing out at him. In a way you ARE stalking him. A stalker is a person who keeps contacting someone who doesn't want the contact. If the shoe fits...

So what if his friends and family have a bad opinion of you? The best thing is to move on and prove him wrong. Right now, you're playing into his little drama. Almost as if he's controlling you remotely.

Stop dancing to this guy's tune. Every time you lash out, react or engage with him, he gets an ego boost. That alone should be enough to get you to knock this shit off.

Okay, so now you get it. Move on.

Forgive yourself, it was the first time this kind of thing has happened to you. You didn't know how to handle it. We, all of us, learn this the hard way.

The only thing you need to recognize is that for you, the break up didn't happen 18 months ago, it happened last night.

So treat yourself as a fresh break up victim. Luckily the heavy lifting has been done. You don't have to move or anything.

Commiserate with your friends, make jokes about how you went crazy. Retell the story as one of your hilarious abborations. "Can you believe that I got so crazy???"

Don't date for a while, don't go to OKC, you're not really ready to date just yet. You're not over this relationship.

You'll know you're over it when someone says his name and your stomach doesn't jump.

Accept that this time, you lost it. We've all been there. It's fine. Besides, who cares what this guy thinks about you?

If you get past the first month or so, you'll feel 1000% better about everything. I promise.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:06 AM on August 21, 2013 [12 favorites]

I want to turn back the clock so that I could walk away from that relationship with my dignity intact.

In addition to everything said above, put your dignity back in place and move forward with it intact.
posted by Dolley at 8:06 AM on August 21, 2013 [8 favorites]

I'm sorry you're going through this. I've been in this situation and it really, really sucks. To have invested so much time, energy, and love in a person and be dismissed so cruelly is horrendous. But you already know that. The only things that helped me were therapy and time. That's it. You can't undo what's already been done; you can only keep yourself from making further mistakes, like continued attempts at contacting a person who doesn't want to hear from you and who will only continue to crush you. Some men--and women--don't know how to handle breakups and respond as your ex is doing, either out of guilt or a misguided belief that being a jerk to you will help you to move on. But what he's thinking or doing is not your problem; you have to take care of you. Don't beat yourself up; almost everyone who lives long enough will endure a devastating breakup after which we behave in less-than-admirable ways. Relationships will come and go; the only person who will be with you for your entire lifetime is you, and you don't want to end up completely devaluing yourself. Get some therapy, develop some strategies to help you move on and respect his wishes for no contact. In time, I guarantee, you will come out of this a much stronger person. I know everyone says that, but it really is true.
posted by kribensa at 8:09 AM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you don't let it go, you become as jerky as he was! That should be a good incentive, right there. Don't turn into him...controlling and abusive and messed up.
posted by emjaybee at 8:10 AM on August 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

He threw you on the discard pile. I'm not sure how old either of you are but if he has a dating history, he's probably done it before and will certainly do it again.

He treated you dismissively while you were together and conducted the breakup in the same way. He doesn't want the discomfort of having to acknowledge you ever existed so he either gaslights you or treats you like a stalker.

He's an asshole and you are well rid of him. But he actually did you a favor by blocking you, getting his family to block you and giving you probably the first useful advice of your relationship: LEAVE ME ALONE NEVER CONTACT ME AGAIN I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU SEEK YOUR ANSWERS ELSEWHERE.

You have the opportunity to do with him what he did with you. Excise him from your life and move on.
posted by rocketpup at 8:10 AM on August 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

The first thing is, you need to cut off contact, cold turkey. You can't keep contacting this guy when you feel low - the wounds will never heal.

Listen, I have been where you are - I had a guy "dump" me by simply cutting off all contact, with no explanation. I spent some time trying to contact him, mostly because I was worried about him (he had a past, shall we say), but I eventually had to give up for my own mental well-being. After that dumping, I spent some time alone, and in the dead of night I would wonder what the hell I did to deserve that treatment. In the meantime, I got on with doing things and making friends.

Looking back, those years were some of the best of my life, not because of the dumping, but because of what I did to push it off my plate. I have lifelong friends because of it. And now, years later, I have a wonderful husband who is 1100 times the man that asshole ever thought of being.

What's in the past is past; any further attempt to contact this ex will automatically go badly. Chalk this up to a learning experience, you know a bunch of things now:
1) qualities you don't want in a partner (someone controlling and abusive)
2) how you yourself would want to be treated in a breakup, therefore how you would treat someone else in a breakup
3) that hanging on to anger over bad treatment is a recipe for disaster.

You are angry over his treatment of you, that's understandable. Have your revenge in the best way possible. Go out and make friends with people who will treat you well, and live life to the fullest.
posted by LN at 8:11 AM on August 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

I want to turn back the clock so that I could walk away from that relationship with my dignity intact.

You can't turn back the clock, but you can change how you're acting from now forward.

He is an ass, but you can be the bigger person by giving him what he wants here (and as a bonus it is also the best course of action for you).

Stop contacting him. Delete his email from your contacts. Delete your alternate facebook account (what good does is bring to your life, really?)

Ideally, you'll stop thinking about him all together, but until you get there you need to have more discipline about ceasing contact.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:11 AM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

It shocked you that the guy that treated you cruelly responded in a cruel manner to questions that you asked while drunk on OKCupid? And at other times. My advice would be to stop being shocked when someone acts how they've been acting towards you for years. Rise above it, focus on your own happiness, and do not dwell on something that doesn't make sense to you currently, as the only person who could give you satisfying answers (aside from you, upon reflection) is not going to give you any.
posted by destructive cactus at 8:11 AM on August 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Any advice?

Stop trying to talk to him. Start talking to a therapist.

I couldn't hold back.

It's time to start being honest with yourself: You could hold back. You didn't. This is why I'm suggesting a therapist.

I wrote something like: "How could you make your family and friends block me on FB? What have I ever done to them?"

He didn't make anyone do anything. Let's rewind:

It downed on me that he was probably telling his friends and family that I was crazy.

Your ex sounds like a dick, but you need to start owning your own actions. First: It's quite possible that your ex simply told his friends and family the truth: that the two of you broke up and that every other month, when you were upset about something else, you would, in your own words, "have a few drinks and fire an angry email, letting all my resentment out." It's also possible that he did indeed lie and say you're some kind of crazy harridan, but honestly, the bimonthly drunk angry email out of the blue would be enough for me to block someone who was sending things like that to a friend or family member. Second: You went from "probably" to holding him accountable for your assumptions. You have nothing but a guess in terms of why they blocked you, and you decided that guess was the only possibility, and then you demanded that he explain a situation that may or may not be what actually happened.

You need to get a handle on this. You can't control what he does. You can control what you do.

Some time ago, I was dumped out of the blue by a partner whom I'd been with for six years. Everything seemed totally okay, they seemed happy, and then bam! Done. I spent a while trying to understand, especially because their story kept changing. About a month after that was the last time we ever spoke. What I learned then is what I will tell you now: You will never find the one objective fact that makes you understand and be okay with what happened. If he can't or won't give you closure then you need to find it within yourself. You need to make your own closure. In other words, what you have here is a loose end, a lot of unresolved anger, and you're trying to make him be part of the resolution. You have to stop. The resolution to the anger has to come from you. It sucks, I know, but that's how it is.

Like I say, he sounds like a dick. But the fact that he was shitty doesn't mean that everything you do now is right, or that everything he does now is wrong. His last email to you should be taken for what it is: a wake-up call about getting your anger in check.

So my advice to you is this: The kind of change you need to make, where you learn to rein in your anger and come to a long-term peace with it and the places it comes from, is a big change and if you have insurance you should strongly consider talking to someone. It doesn't mean you're crazy but this is something you can't do by yourself. This will also help you to find your own resolution. The other advice I have is to never, ever contact him again. Do not allow yourself special pleading; don't allow yourself situations where you say, "Well, this time I'm really sad about something and he owes me answers and it's different so I'll just contact him the once." Any further contact with him will only make this problem worse. If the problem gets worse, you will feel worse. Spare yourself that, and just leave him alone forever.

It might be hard, and it might be a lot of work, but I promise you can do it and it's worth it in the end. Good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:26 AM on August 21, 2013 [82 favorites]

Think about it this way. What if you had done everything differently? What if, when he'd broken up with you, you graciously accepted it, smiled meekly, and never contacted him again, except, a year or so later, to send him a cheerful and breezy email checking in and making clear you are absolutely fine?

You would have given this raging asshole exactly what he wanted - the chance to dump you and not get any shit for it. Do you really think he deserves that? You are not a stalker and you are not crazy. There are real stalkers in the world: people who make their victims feel powerless because the stalkers take total control of the terms of their interactions - I can contact you anytime, anywhere, and there's nothing you can do about it. Trust me, that is not how your emails made that guy feel. And there are crazy people out there, too, but they are not people who were cruelly dumped, felt upset, and repeatedly asked the person who harmed them for some kind of closure.

The way you're (mis)using those words in your head? That's your boyfriend talking, manipulating a broader cultural narrative in which women expressing negative emotions are "crazy." In what rational universe is your dignity compromised by the fact that your boyfriend dumped you in this insanely harsh way and you were upset by it, and showed it? Whose rule is it, exactly, that when people harm us in the context of relationships, we owe them our silence?

You are acting in a normal way in response to another person's deeply disturbed behavior. If you wrote him another twenty emails telling him exactly what you thought of him, I would not think you were crazy for doing so. Now, do I think you should write him another twenty emails? No, because it probably won't make you feel better and this guy is an asshole and he will keep lashing out at you and trying to get in your head. But you have the right to do it. You have a right to all of your feelings. Some of them might be productive, some of them might not be, but none of them put you in the wrong. It is your boyfriend who was in the wrong and he knows it. That's why he's being so cruel to you. That's why he lied to his family about the reasons for your breakup. That's why he won't talk to you. He knows he wronged you, and you should, too. I think once you accept that, for real, and stop blaming yourself for what you feel, you will find it much easier to at last move on.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 8:27 AM on August 21, 2013 [44 favorites]

You would have given this raging asshole exactly what he wanted - the chance to dump you and not get any shit for it.

Except the ex gets to come out of this looking like the victim of a nutty stalker, and the OP gets...what, exactly? Satisfaction that she(?) is portrayed/acted like a boundary-disrespecting stalker? That sounds like a really shitty deal.

OP, your ex might deserve a whole raft of shit for the way he's treated you, but you're not the one to dish it out. You deserve to treat yourself better. You deserve a respectful place to wrangle with your feelings, and that place is not with your ex. It might be with your friends, a therapist, and/or your pastor.
posted by rtha at 8:31 AM on August 21, 2013 [14 favorites]

He's an abusive asshole who tried to isolate you from others. I know it hurts, but I'd put good money down that you're not the first to see this side of him and you won't be the last. Some people can't, or won't, break free of their abusers so be grateful that this happened without the added difficulty of being lawfully married or with kids in the picture. What he did was shitty, unquestionably, but try and be grateful that you're now free from him and find out how awesome it is to have friends who are well-adjusted, happy, and have no need for this shit. You owe it to yourself and you deserve some awesomeness.
posted by SillyShepherd at 8:32 AM on August 21, 2013

Delete this guy's email address from your address book, delete his number from your phone, block him on Facebook, etc. Cut off all avenues of contact that you might potentially have with him. Cut him out of your life completely. Don't check up on him on Facebook, or OKCupid, or any other website via secondary accounts. Do everything in your power to cut all ties, in the same fashion that he's done.

Yeah, he's an asshole. But you aren't helping yourself by continually putting your hands into the fire. That's going to burn you. He's had to escalate cutting you off because you won't leave him alone, even after he's made it clear that he wants nothing to do with you.

Right now, this is your chance to make a fresh start away from him. Take a deep breath, call up some friends and go do something fun. Start creating some new exciting happenings in your life, and some new exciting memories to go with them. Put strategies in place to help with your anger, like meditating or yoga or a journal where you can write down your hot thoughts and then have a ceremonial burning. Maybe even consider CBT.

Find your fabulous again. It's inside you somewhere, just waiting to jump out. Do things that make you feel fabulous and strong and empowered. Remind yourself that you're bigger, stronger and brighter than this situation, because YOU ARE. You got through it and you survived. So what are you going to do in your life now that's amazing?

Right now, you're at the point of feeding your anger. That's not healthy, helpful or fabulous. Find another outlet for that energy. Maybe that's talking about it with a therapist, maybe not. Try things until you find something that prevents you from sinking to the level of this guy.

If this situation is affecting your other relationships with people, maybe don't date until it's sorted. You're not going to get far until you let this guy out of your life.

Doing things that you're not proud of is part and parcel of being a human being. Nobody is an angel. Everyone fucks up at some point or another. The key thing is how you respond to the fuck-up. Are you making it better, or worse?
posted by Solomon at 8:37 AM on August 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

For real (and I think you know this by now) you cannot ever contact him again in any way without it being a massive mistake and be seen as stalker-ish and creepy. Never contact him again. Ever. There is absolutely no reason why you should ever have any contact with him again.

Tough love: You knew it wasn't a healthy relationship. You knew it should end. he wasn't a good boyfriend. You wish you had dumped him, but he beat you to the punch. And on top of that, he did it without allowing you any sort of closure. Was that a dick way for him to breakup? Yep. But lots of people break up like dicks. This does NOT warrant the tremendous anger and venom that you have repeatedly poured on him. You HAVE been acting like a crazy ex, and if his friends and family think of you that way... well... it is totally unwarranted, is it?

He was right, your emotional state and feelings were no longer his responsibility. Every message and attack was you trying to make it his responsibility. And I think every time you sent him an angry message you got angrier and angrier at yourself. You thought you were angry at him, but I really think you are angry at yourself for allowing him to affect you so much and make you behave that way. His last response was something people say to stalkers because, lets face it, you absolutely crossed a line and he really just wants it to stop. He broke up with someone a year and a half ago and they still are verbally abusing him and checking up on him online and blaming him? You frankly were probably scaring him. I've been on his side of things (not dumping like an ass, but having an ex keep contacting me in anger). Every time I got a message from him I literally felt sick to my stomach. I tried blocking him but he would just create a new email address and message me from that, and he kept "stumbling across" any site I was a member of and harassing me there too. I felt really unsafe and scared, always worried when he would attack me again, wondering what his furious emails might morph in to (him showing up at my office? his finding out where I lived and showing up at my apartment? him attacking my physically? him accosting my family?). It is extremely awful being on the other end of that situation. I know it was hard for you, I know you were upset, and I know your ex was a total asshole... but how you behaved still isn't okay.

Not so tough love: Dude, going a bit psycho after a bad break up happens to a lot of us. Try not to beat yourself up too much. It can be really easy to become the "psycho ex" and go down that road, and it seems like it is always the worst relationships that bring out the crazy. Isn't isn't cool how you've behaved, but it happens to a lot of people. Beating yourself up over it serves no purpose. You can't undo it. You can't turn back time. I don't think anything he could say or do at this point would make you feel better. Nothing he can do will give you closure. The closure needs to come from within you. What you CAN do is decide to make THIS MOMENT be when you shake your mental etch-a-sketch and just start over. This was a not-so-shining moment in your history, but you can learn from it and move on. Maybe doing things to close things off on your end, like YOU blocking HIS email address, will help you to feel like you've done more of the breaking up. This time in your life does not define you as a whole, nor does it represent your entire life. This does NOT need to be a defining moment in your life. You can pretend it never happened and just live your life again without this hanging over you. Hell, you can pretend you never even dated him if that helps to give you the distance you need to be able to move on from this. Purge him from your life and your psyche. Give up on having your questions answered. Don't waste your time worrying what his friends and family think of you. Give up on getting any explanation for why he dumped you so cruelly. You are NEVER going to get that answer because he probably didn't have a reason beyond the fact that he is a jerk. So just let that go. Maybe write down everything you wish you could say to him, everything you wish he would explain and everything you wish he would understand. Get it ALL OUT, once and for all. And then destroy it. Set it on fire, tear it up and flush it down the toilet, feed the letter to an aligator... I don't care, just totally and thoroughly destroy it with the understanding that by destroying it you are finally getting all of that anger and hatred of him out of your system. Sometimes the brain needs an actual event to be able to accept things. You're embarassed over how you behaved, but it is done. All you can do is stop giving in to your anger and behave differently from now on. Behave in a way that is best for YOU and that projects an image of the person you want to be.

From what you wrote you have a real attitude of your anger being outside your control, when it isn't. You absolutely can control your response to your emotions. Therapy could help you with this.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:44 AM on August 21, 2013 [11 favorites]

@rtha - The ex only looks like the victim of a nutty stalker if we accept his right to define her that way. I say she doesn't look like a nutty stalker. I say she looks like a normal human being in pain and describing her that way is bullshit. Her ex was never going to describe her fairly, as the victim of his uncalled for cruelty. There would always be some reason, from his perspective, why she was in the wrong and he was in the right. That she is feeling guilty for the way she's acted is ridiculous. It's not like she was outside his house with binoculars or calling him every five minutes all night long. She sent him some emails. So what?

Am I saying that she should keep emailing him? No. I think I was pretty clear that it wouldn't be helpful. But I don't think her "dignity" is at stake here at all. That's a twisted way of looking at it. The ex's dignity was compromised when he acted borderline abusive during the relationship and then dumped her as harsh a manner as possible, and then gaslighted her as acting "crazy" when she responded like any normal person would. I think it's really harmful, both for the OP and just in general, to throw words like "crazy" and "nutty" around like that. If we had any sense that the OP wasn't telling the full story, or that the guy was actually feeling legitimately frightened by her behavior or like his boundaries were being violated, I would take a different approach. But from where I sit, it looks like the ex is continuing to claim the right to control the narrative and that OP has the right to take that control back.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 8:46 AM on August 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

Mod note: Do not argue with other commenters, direct answers to the OP and take side conversations to MeMail. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:50 AM on August 21, 2013

I'm sorry this is happening to you. I have been there. It was hellish for what felt like far too long, but I got through it, and it made me stronger. And a kindly Providence has now compensated me with a fantastic, loving man whose DMs the jerk in question would not be worthy to unlace.

Your ex sounds like a malignant narcissist, which is fancy multisyllabic psycholingo for fucked-up twat. People like this are especially prone to defaming people they've wronged, and the way they operate makes their nastiness particularly "sticky" -- something about their pattern of forming intense, never-quite-good-enough relationships with people and then rapidly devaluing and discarding them tends to linger with their victims in the form of long-lasting and often humiliating emotional fallout of the kind you're describing.

Of course you're angry. You're hurt. You know what? This is a good sign. It means you have a normal, warm, beating human heart. You had genuine feelings for this guy, you cared what he thought of you and, unlike him, you can't shut those feelings off with one flick of an internal switch just because they are now painful, embarrassing or inconvenient to you. That's something to be proud of. It's what makes you better and more fully human than him, and capable of forming the healthy, mutually loving and mindful relationships I have no doubt you will find.

You're angry and you have every right to be. You're also fully aware that this state of affairs can't continue, that you need to detach. I support the usual AskMefi advice to seek therapy. A good therapist will validate your anger and help you empower yourself to detach and focus on the person who really matters and is worth hanging on to in this situation: you. I wish you all the best. It does get better.
posted by stuck on an island at 8:59 AM on August 21, 2013 [8 favorites]

His last message is something people say to stalkers.

Yes, but not exclusively. It's also something said to preclude stalking.

Don't beat yourself up too hard. I deal with stalking professionally, and in my jurisdiction what you've described doesn't qualify. It's inappropriate, sure, and you need to let go. But you shouldn't make things out to be bigger than they are, and invoking the word "stalking" here suggests that. You're not a stalker. PS, don't become one.

I wouldn't normally say this next part, but you seem to be hurting and "Any advice?" casts a wide net, so maybe you'll find this useful: I have doubts about your account. You've described a relationship where your boyfriend cruelly and selfishly bullied you into making numerous emotional concessions, ending in an immediate and unexplained breakup initiated by him. You don't identify any fault of yours. Since the breakup, you describe no abusive or controlling actions by him; on the contrary, you admit to repeatedly provoking him, and he has consistently refused to rise to your bait. His all-caps response last night may or may not have been cruel, but it was reasonable and not particularly immature.

Now, I'm just a stranger on the Internet judging based on only a few hundred words you've typed during an emotional time, so if I'm wrong, then forgive me and disregard. I mean no offense. I have seen dynamics similar to what you've described, so your account could very well be 100 percent accurate. But there are enough red flags that I'm inclined to doubt. And the reason I say that aloud, the reason I think it might be helpful, is because you obviously feel an emotional need for answers you will never get from him—and to my ears, the story I'm hearing suggests those answers may lie within yourself. You don't need his perspective to get them.

I'm truly sorry for the pain you're feeling. Bad breakups are a human experience. I've seen people hurting far longer than eighteen months and behaving far worse than a pestering message on OKCupid; it might feel like you're at the bottom of the barrel, but that's just how shame feels, and you're not. You've had plural relationships, and you are currently on the field dating. That puts you miles ahead of where some people are. Be thankful for that much. Good luck.
posted by cribcage at 9:03 AM on August 21, 2013 [21 favorites]

Okay. First and foremost:

You're not crazy for sending this guy angry emails. Honestly, this guy deserved a lot more than angry emails. What usually happens in a breakup when one person does something shitty, is you have a big blow-up fight, followed by the relationship breakup. Or the relationship breakup, followed by the big blow up fight. In this enormous fight, everyone gets to say everything they want to say, have the other person hear them, and then stomp off to their own lives.

You didn't have that, and it's bleeding around the edges into everything else. Lack of closure can be a real problem.

This guy is, in fact, responsible for your emotional reactions to the shitty things he has done. He may think that by breaking up he takes no blame, but this is bullshit and he is a shitty human being.

Now, mind you: some guys do in fact think that their responsibility for other human beings ends when the sex does, and this is shitty and awful. But you are not obliged to give that to them.

That being said, this dynamic is still unhealthy for you. Don't beat yourself up about what you have done, but work on what you can do in future.
posted by corb at 9:05 AM on August 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think if you had come home and found him in bed with another woman, no one would fault you or call you "crazy" for reacting negatively in a dramatic fashion.

The way I see it what he did was along the same lines in terms of the magnitude of the betrayal, and the shock and trauma that would naturally result. I mean, telling you to move out in 24 hours? It was your apartment too, right? How could that even be legal? Why couldn't he move out?

So basically what I'm trying to say is cut yourself some slack. You're not the bad guy here, and you're not crazy. But of course he's going to try to convince himself, and you, that you are crazy. Because how else could what he did possibly make any sense or be in any way justified?

But also, don't get in touch with him ever again. He was the one who wounded you, and he can't be the one to heal you. You have to do that yourself.
posted by Asparagus at 9:30 AM on August 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Run, don't walk, to the therapist's office. Prioritize therapy above all other expenditures save rent and food if need be. Something very similar happened to me about a year ago, and it has taken a year of therapy for me to get back to a place where I can say "I feel emotionally and mentally stable" and have those words actually feel true. I was diagnosed with PTSD and MDD-NOS following the cruel and sudden end of our relationship, and here I am, smiling, and standing, with only the occasional wobble, on my own two feet.

I understand your rage. God, I understand it. I treated my ex like a prince. I held his hand through fallout from his previous life as a drug dealer that threatened his new career, traveled to the bottom of his twisted, detached emotional pit to reassure him that he was not worthless and that he deserved to be loved, showered him with love and gifts, etc. etc. etc. The shock of his eventual devaluation and discarding of me was like losing a limb. Why? How could he?

I've learned a lot of lessons from my mess, but by far the best one came from ruminating on the question: Why did I spend so much time and energy throwing my love down a black hole?

For me, the answer lay with my emotionally abusive borderline mother. As I thought and thought and talked and talked I came to realize just how many people I have loved in my life who have been unable to give me, in return, the healthy love that I deserve and desire so deeply. As a person who has always been interested in psychology and the way people work, I always intellectually knew that people recreate situations from their childhood in their adult relationships to try and fix the childhood situation by replaying it and making the ending come out differently. But somehow, I'd never quite deeply connected that concept with how I was living my life until I spent hours talking things through with my therapist.

I've reached the point now where I am genuinely happy that this happened to me. Obviously, given the choice I would choose not to go through a period of medication, fury, crushing depression and suicidal ideation, but at the end of it all there was a lesson that was like standing on the shore, looking out onto the ocean of all my experiences, and understanding how everything was connected. I'm getting a bit teary just thinking about it. Understanding why I have done the things I have done has given me the power to change them. You deserve to have this, and you can reach out and take it for yourself. It will change your life, and only for the better.

Do any of these things ring true for you?
- You are an empath.
- You get intense satisfaction from untangling the puzzle of another person.
- You were not really happy in your relationship with your ex, and perhaps haven't been in other romantic or non-romantic relationships, but have ignored multiple red flags and warning signs.
- You are a giver, but have rarely received.

Healing is possible. First: therapist. Second: Block him and everyone you know who is closely connected to him on all social media. Third: Create a document (mine is Fuck You.docx) and feel free to pour every ounce of your fury into it whenever you want. Don't hold back. Eventually, you won't even feel the need to open it anymore.

And finally, here's something that made me feel a little bit better: your ex will never change. He will go through this narcissistic cycle of destruction over and over and will eventually look around him and see only desolation. You will not, because you have the strength to look inside yourself and make the changes that need to be made. You can do this. You are much, much stronger than he is, which is why he had to do this horrible, unforgivable thing to you in order to make himself feel strong. MeMail me anytime.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 9:38 AM on August 21, 2013 [23 favorites]

How's the rest of your life going? I'm sorry this is happening to you. I was where you were last year, and I realized my anger stemmed in part from the fact that a lot of other things were going wrong in my life. I was fixated on what happened with this person both because it was an easier target for my anger and because I had pinned too much on this person and what a relationship with them would do for my life. I was also jealous that they had some better things going on in their life than I did.

I'm not saying you weren't treated poorly, but it's much easier to leave people who treat you poorly in the dust and forget all about them when you've got a great job to go to every day or friends to hang out with or you hit a new goal in your weight lifting or you're busy planning for that vacation next month or whatever.

I found that my anger faded of its own accord when my life started to improve, and eventually I forgot all about the person. Working on improving my self-esteem and inner sense of self helped enormously as well, because suddenly this injustice wasn't about me anymore. I didn't need to be liked and treated well by everybody I came across because that's not where my worth came from, and I could shrug off bad interactions as just as a sign that this person was damaged, immediately drop them from my life, and move forward.

The anger may still be there for awhile. That's okay. When it comes, don't try to force it away, don't beat yourself up over it. Acknowledge it, sit with it for awhile, and recognize that it means there might be something else lacking in your life. Then use it as a reminder to get busy trying to work toward that thing.
posted by unannihilated at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Lots of long answers here. Here's the short answer.

This guy did you dirty. You need to talk this through in therapy. And I don't mean that in a way that there is something wrong with you. I mean, you need ways to cope with the (very justified) feelings of anger and resentment towards someone who clearly re-wrote some history with your relationship.

You can't control what others do in the aftermath of the breakup. And frankly, even if his family were on your side, family doesn't abandon their own no matter how horrible your ex-BF was.

Find ways to get past this guy and you'll learn that when his patterns repeat themselves again (and they will), people will see it had nothing to do with you.
posted by PsuDab93 at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

There is absolutely nothing to be gained by dwelling on the past except more suffering. Sure, he was a jerk and you made some bad decisions after he broke up with you, but so what, we've all been there. You can still have a happy and successful life, but only if you stop defining it in terms of a relationship that ended a year-and-a-half ago. Your worth as a human being has nothing to do with what this guy thinks of you or what his friends and family think of you. Let it go. As others have mentioned, therapy, yoga and meditation are good ways of dealing with your feelings. My guess is that you are young and eventually, with time, you will get over this and you will be able to give yourself the love, respect, and appreciation you deserve.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 9:52 AM on August 21, 2013

Forgive yourself for feeling great anger and sometimes acting on that anger. So you sent a few angry emails. Forgive yourself.

Once you have that, try to forgive this guy. Realize he treated you like garbage. He bad-mouthed you to his family. He is awful. But work on forgiving him. Awful people usually don't have joy-fueled lives. So, he is worthy of your forgiveness and perhaps pity.

When you are angry, embrace the fact that you are in a murderous rage. Acknowledge it, then put it to good use. What helps you more: a good six mile run or an email to an awful person? Any artistic pursuits you have, put your anger in them. If you are a student/overworked white collar sort, put that anger into meeting! those! fucking! deadlines!

Peace be with you.
posted by angrycat at 9:58 AM on August 21, 2013

You don't need to turn back the clock to get your dignity back, because it's yours, not his, and no one controls it but you. It's still within you, so dig it up, polish it off, and remember that your worth is not measured by how much other people value you.
posted by juniperesque at 9:58 AM on August 21, 2013 [14 favorites]

This guy sucks and you feel like he got the better of you, he was the one who got to dump you and now he gets to act like you were the one who was too flawed when it was really him. I think we all get it and it's obvious. The thing is, you can't go back in time and dump him. He dumped you and he was an ass about it and for you it's embarrassing. You can't get any of the closure you wish you could get. You can't control any of that, but you can control what happens next. Remove him for everything so you can't contact him anywhere. Download an add-on called LeechBlock for Firefox and once you're sure it's set up right, set it to the nuclear setting so it's impossible to go to his profiles. The only thing that will bring you closure is moving on, for real. Easier said than done, but it starts by not looking him up online, even when a thought of him does pop into your head. Your self-restraint will start building. Right now, angry emails to him make things worse because he will probably be less and less sympathetic or interested in engaging.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:03 AM on August 21, 2013

Just a guess here, but I wonder if the person that you're really angry at is yourself, and you cannot give voice to that.

The reason I wonder that is because anger is an unmet need. What is your unmet need? It's not the relationship with him, for you said you do not miss that. You can admit it was a bad relationship, yet you continue to make him a target for your anger. Thus, who are you really angry at? And what are you really angry about?

Anger is an odd beast, in that it needs to be expressed. It seethes and grows, until it is released. All it needs is a target... and when a target it found, it finds its exit. Thus, if you separate the anger from your ex, you just have your anger. You need to find out 1) what you are really angry about, and 2) why you are angry about that.

The message he sent you is in line with what you would receive from inappropriate emotional outbursts. If we look at this from his side, he's carrying on with his life, and then gets random messages from you releasing moments of anger. How would you feel if someone did that to you? You would want to remove yourself from the situation as best you could.

The blocking is a good indicator of where the problem exists, because in reality it doesn't matter. You are being blocked by a bunch of people who are irrelevant to your life, who it sounds as if you have no interest in contacting again. Thus, why are you upset with the blocking?

It sounds like because what you assume it says about you. Primarily that it results in you applying a bunch of labels to yourself. Thus, you are reacting against the meaning you are giving to the blocking, rather than the block itself.

In the same way, you are reacting against your anger, rather than your anger at the end of the relationship. The relationship is just a proxy, as is the blocking. These are external indicators that you are giving a lot of meaning to. The people on the other ends of those proxy have nothing to do with your anger. Who cares if an exboyfriend's family blocks you. Who cares what he says about you? Why does it even matter?

Because you are giving it such a tremendous amount of meaning? If that is the case, chances are that you are being very hard on yourself in general. All the anger that is released is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the anger that you are holding inside. Do you beat yourself up in general? Are you mean to yourself and hard on yourself? Do you have really high expectations of yourself, and constantly disappoint yourself?

Point being that this has absolutely nothing to do with your ex-boyfriend and everything to do with your relationship with yourself. If you can find out why you are angry with yourself, this problem will solve itself I imagine. For this is just an indicator – a symptom of a problem. The problem lies elsewhere.

You're not a stalker, but chances are there's an unmet need lurking around in there somewhere. A part of yourself you are not dealing with directly. Something you need that you won't allow yourself to have. Something you think you need that is unattainable. Something that you deny, which is expressing itself in really unproductive ways.

What is that?
What is driving the anger?
What is the unmet need?
Where did it come from?

My intuition from the rest of your description (doormat) is that you may have trouble articulating your own needs. That you treat other people better than you treat yourself, which can easily create anger. You give them so much, and they give you so little. Over time, each little concession builds up, into a situation where you gave so much and kept nothing for yourself.

If that is what you did, why did you do it? What stops you from articulating your needs, and walking away from situations that are not reciprocating to the energy that you put in?
posted by nickrussell at 10:18 AM on August 21, 2013 [7 favorites]

HOLY SHIT, pretentious illiterate NAILED IT!

He's "programmed" you to behave this way with his actions. You're still dancing to his tune, fulfilling his narrative of the relationship.

It's totally normal that you got duped, and I grant you ALL of your dignity back!

Block, delete, etc. all him and all his friends and family on social media, email, and the like.

With life experience (and some therapy!) you'll recognize this bullshit when it happens and stop being controlled/reacting to it.


I'll tell you a quick story. My current landlord is a sociopath, totally dysfunctional, and so is everyone that works for her. The lies and the bullshit about really mundane things are TRULY EPIC, and just generally drives everyone nuts. Dealing with the management is a major source of stress.

And then one day I saw the pattern. I mean, I really saw a pattern to how these mean awful people operated.

Long story short, they do all they do because they enjoy the power of upsetting others. That's it. That's the pay off. They like causing distress, and every interaction unfolds in ways that maximize distress in others. Period.

Once I saw that, it was so easy to disengage emotionally. For the first time since moving in, I feel like my apartment is my home. I don't feel vulnerable or violated any longer because I can see exactly what these people are about, what they are going to do in situations, and therefore how to deal with them effectively.

I dunno if my example was helpful to you, but I hope so.

My point is that life is long, and you will encounter people like your ex again and again. The sooner you recognize these people, the sooner you can disengage from them emotionally and prevent them from hurting and triggering you.

It's really hard to feel personal about something that's just a pattern. And just because someone is laying out a pattern, doesn't mean you have to (fully) participate.

In my example, during the middle of silly delays in apartment repairs, I'll generate a little faux outrage to keep things moving along and play my part - but my emotions are fake. Inside, I'm not upset. I fulfill the pattern, and soon, my family move to a new place, and then I won't have to playact to get proper service.

ProTip: When you find yourself grinding away about someone, it's a tip off they are somewhat like your ex, and you should discern the pattern to protect yourself, or more usually, disengage immediately because it's usually not worth your time. Really.
posted by jbenben at 10:40 AM on August 21, 2013 [10 favorites]

I'm going to get a little Freudian about this. What is your relationship with your parents like? You say they became close to this guy who was emotionally abusive to you. Were they cold with you? Did they with hold affection? Did you often have temper tantrums? Was that the only time your parents would pay attention to you--hold you, comfort you? As an adult, do you often feel like your emotions are out of your control--and do you rely on other people to comfort you and calm you during these outbursts? Were you taught healthy ways of dealing with your emotions, both alone and with others? Did you deal with abandonment (death of a parent or any other kind of parental absence)? Do you often find yourself staying in unhealthy situations longer than you should--because it's better than being alone?

I ask because in some ways, your story is very familiar to me, and I couldn't see how these negative attention-seeking behaviors were damaging to me and my adult relationships for a long, long time. I would often lash out at other people while hurting (often about other things) because as a child I'd learned that this was an effective and consistent way to get attention from my parents. I was never, ever taught healthy coping mechanisms for normal human emotions. Instead, my emotions were treated as something that happened to me and must be weathered or feared. When, as a kid, I broke objects, I was told I was "crazy," but I was also rewarded, in an operant conditioning sense, by my mother's attention--something that I found absolutely impossible to get otherwise. In fact, during happy times, I often felt invisible in my household. It was only when I would do negative, angry things that my feelings were recognized as real and valid.

This is all incredibly bad, toxic stuff. It's also incredibly common.

Therapy helped me to see why this was bad--for me, for my friends, for my loved ones. We're really, really good at developing coping mechanisms for damaging situations, but then we outgrow these situations and are left with really skewed ways of interfacing with the world. Shot in the dark, but I'm guessing that you send these angry missives to your ex when you're hurting because you feel incredibly alone in these moments. You feel invisible, worthless, empty, hollow. So you lash out, desperate for any sort of response. If you don't get one, you find yourself getting angrier and angrier and more and more afraid. Your responses to this person ramp up and up until he can't ignore them--can't ignore you. An argument, a sad email about what's lost--all of those are better than being ignored, better than being invisible.

Which is why what he did is so very scary for you. He's made you invisible. He's told you that contacting him won't work any more. He's left you--like other people have left you. And you were depending on those responses to show you that you were real, valid, there. Even if his responses were angry or hurtful. If you're anything like me, you absorbed the message that abuse is better than being so absolutely translucent. A non-entity. If he hurts you, at least you know he cares about you, right?

If you're anything like me, I can tell you what it's like to be on the other side of this: you can control your emotions, and his cutting off contact is the best thing that he could have done here. It's time to learn to take care of yourself, to learn about emotional regulation and healthy communication. It's time to learn what real love can look and feel like, how to ask for companionship and affection from people who actually do love you, and (perhaps most important of all) how to be by yourself. You can do all of these things, because I can do them, and I used to be someone who would break things when I felt ignored, who would have freak-outs when I was feeling needy, who would flail around just hoping that people who had hurt me in the past would pay attention to me. Therapy is the way through this, so long as you want to change. It will be the hardest thing you've ever done, but the best. Be good to yourself. Give yourself the gift of getting your life, and your emotions, under control.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:48 AM on August 21, 2013 [9 favorites]

Geez. Sorry about the novel up top.

I'm trying to tell you not to take ANY of what has happened personally, because it was't personal, and you did not cause it.

Normal human beings don't come home after sharing a bed and a home with you for a year and a half, and with no precipitating incident, give you 24 hours to vacate the home and get out of their lives.

posted by jbenben at 10:52 AM on August 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

I'm pretty uncomfortable with some of the "He's making you act this way!" excuses. That's very close to the "Why do you make me behave like this?" stuff that stalkers will say. The fact is that you're responsible for your own actions. Was this guy a jerk? Absolutely. Does that excuse your behavior? No. The way to not act like a stalker is to not act like a stalker! Delete him from your contacts. Block his friends and family from your social media stuff. There's no reason to be looking at his facebook!

His behavior does not give you carte blanche for your behavior.
posted by Justinian at 10:53 AM on August 21, 2013 [13 favorites]

A brief story, for what it's worth.

I once went on a date with a guy I met online. This was NYC (hell for single girls), the dude was really attractive, my type, had his shit together, successful, and so on. He was interested in a second date but I declined, the only reason being that he had mentioned that he was stalked by three ex-girlfriends. I could just picture the three breakups in my head exactly as you described.

(Did I mention I was super single and he was super eligible? And I still didn't want to touch him with a 10-foot pole.)

So, forget this guy. Just picture him being repeatedly rejected by women in above-type scenarios, and forget him.
posted by rada at 10:55 AM on August 21, 2013 [10 favorites]

Seconding what rada said story is similar. Before my horrible breakup, my now-ex once mentioned that some women in his past had had a hard time accepting their relationship was over. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but later I realized that he had probably broken up with them in the similarly abrupt manner he did me, which is similar to the OP's account of the end of her relationship. Point being, this is probably a pattern for him. And nthing all of the excellent advice above that you are only responsible for your own actions and future behavior.
posted by kribensa at 11:03 AM on August 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

The pattern was whenever I was down about something in my life (career issues, guy that I was dating dumped me etc), I would have a few drinks and fire an angry email

We broke up because he said that our physical spark is slow to develop. That hurt me. I had few drinks. I logged into OKC. I saw my ex online. I couldn't hold back

I agree that this guy sucks but you're a grown adult and should bring able to "hold back". Especially over a year latest and with several new men in the meantime. Getting drunk and sending "my life sucks and I blame you" emails desperately needs to stop and you need to stop blaming your ex or other men or work or whatever for making you do it. If you're having trouble controlling your emotions in negative times that is absolutely something you can work on. And have to really to be happy.

Remember, you can write all the crazy ranty stuff you want. That's therapeutic to some extent. It's sending them to other people/ papering your house with the letters or starting a website that's problematic. There are social norms around this stuff, as you can see from this thread. Learning appropriate ways to express your anger and dissatisfaction with a situation to your enemies and allies and all neutral parties without coming off as crazy/ angry or probably drunk is an Important Life Skill. You need to acquire this skill however you can.

In the meantime there is the Lindsay Lohan rule to guide your decision making. Ask yourself "what would Lindsay Lohan do in this situation?". Then don't do that.
posted by fshgrl at 11:04 AM on August 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

"I'm pretty uncomfortable with some of the "He's making you act this way!" excuses."

Just to clarify, the point I am making is that the OP's reactions and strong emotions are how normal-but-inexperienced people feel when they get fucked with by fuckers like her ex.

Some fuckers in life are button pushing assholes who delight in hurting others, sometimes these people are labeled sociopaths, psychopaths, or my favorite - an interspecies predator.

Once alerted to the phenomenon, of course the OP is responsible for their actions and reactions.
posted by jbenben at 11:16 AM on August 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Girl, a handful of angry-intoxicated emails and an OKC message ain't nothin'. Go easy on yourself.

I had a guy do a 180 on me one time, much less severe than your ex did, and I spent a year social-engineering/hiring an international cadre of hackers/performing elaborate psy ops on the guy. The end result was pretty spectacular. When I confessed my sins to a friend who is a big deal in internet security circles about it all, he was agog. So, c'mon, don't beat yourself up. Your behavior falls well within what is common nowadays.

You've unlocked the secret though to how to get around (not over) this. When you are feeling bad about other things in your life, it triggers your anger and angst re: the guy. (The very same thing happens to me, so I totally get it.) What will help, I think, is to shift your focus back to YOU whenever those twinges/waves of anger come up. It's your psyche telling you that something is amiss, and that you should do something good for yourself. Use that angry impulse for good...use it to fuel change in your own life.

As women, we are conditioned to pathologize our anger, to try to make it go away, and to not express it. I don't think your expressions of anger toward that scoundrel are bad or crazy. They felt like the right thing to do in the moment; they are no longer the right thing to do. No shame. Just do what feels correct now.
posted by nacho fries at 11:25 AM on August 21, 2013 [7 favorites]

The thing about abusers is, it's a power-trip for them: they physically and/or emotionally abuse others to maintain that power. So.... deny your ex the power: break that depressed/drunk emailing circle you've built.

First off: delete every email address, OKC tag, phone number or any other way you have to contact him or any member of his family. Defriend him and his entire family from your facebook list; delete that second fb page entirely. His family is his family, not yours; leave them alone, they are not your friends.

As for the drunk emails: go ahead and vent if you have to. Write to him on those rare occasions you feel the need to, but write old-fashioned, handwritten-on-paper letters. Then re-write 'em, several times.... re-write to phrase things clearer, re-write for better grammar and better penmanship or nicer stationary or any other reason you can think of. But here's the kicker: never, ever send those letters --- burn them or 'drown' them by tearing them into tiny bits and flush 'em down the john or chew them up in a shredder, just don't ever actually send him those letters.

This will let you vent, but without giving your ex power over you --- and you can bet, in his nasty little heart, he actually likes getting those drunk email: it proves to him he still has a hold on you.
posted by easily confused at 12:03 PM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

The hardest thing for me in a situation that was loosely similar to this was thinking that I would never, ever understand the reasons for the break-up.

Not knowing and realizing eventually that I would never get answers had to become OK for me, and that takes a while...sometimes a very long time.
posted by yellowcandy at 12:07 PM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am not sure why you are making the assumption that he forced his family and friends to block you, and not that after he told them about your bimonthly emails, they chose to do so themselves. It doesn't matter, there is no reason for you to have future contact with his family and your ex and his family's opinion of you mean absolutely nothing.

This guy sounds like he treated you terribly. Kicking you out of your home is a truly awful thing to do. However, the pattern of behavior you describe, of when you are down or upset about completely unrelated things, you drink and fire off an email to your ex about how terrible he is, makes me wonder if you behaved similarly when you were in a relationship with him.

You say you cannot hold back your anger towards your ex, even when the things you are actually upset about have nothing to do with him. Consider getting yourself into some therapy, because your inability to control your anger and taking it out on other people is a problem. As others have pointed out, he might deserve a lot of things, but it's not your job to dish it out.

I guess I was hoping for a kind word, but he kept getting progressively more cruel.

I think if this is what you were hoping for, you have really bizarre expectations. Even if someone is a complete shithead, repeatedly emailing him about how he is a shithead who misrepresents himself to his friends and family is not going to make him have any kind words for you. An angry, drunken email is not going to make this shithead have any sort of come to jesus moment about his past behavior.

Let go of your desire for a kind word from him, be kind to yourself instead. Stop giving him space in your brain, he doesn't deserve it. You might never understand his reasons for the breakup, but you know looking back on it that there were plenty of reasons for YOU to end the relationship with him.
posted by inertia at 12:29 PM on August 21, 2013 [8 favorites]

Best one-line aphorism (pretty sure I picked it up here) that helped me in a similar long, long rut of anger and nasty a few years ago:

"Resentment is a poison you drink hoping the other person dies".

Really. Thinking deeply about that and what I was doing, and how I was feeling, and how I was looking to take bellows to the ember of anger and hurt over and over again, really helped.
posted by bumpkin at 12:31 PM on August 21, 2013 [13 favorites]

i'm really sorry your bf broke up with you like that and basically evicted you. he handled that horribly! it does sound like your initial anger about the breakup, which is totally normal, has turned into something that you now use to scapegoat your other life problems i.e. you are now blaming other life problems on him. this isn't healthy for you. i noticed that your angry emails to him usually happen after "a few drinks". even if you don't have an actual drinking problem you may want to consider going to AA meetings because it would really give you a place to share your struggles rather than sending off angry emails to the ex. it sounds like you need an outlet to process your life's frustrations and i think either AA or therapy would be a good place to do that. you're going to be okay. you just need to work through this bad breakup and find some support.
posted by wildflower at 1:46 PM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't usually play the gender-switch game, but:

Imagine you have a friend. Imagine she's in a relationship where she dumps her boyfriend in a shitty shitty way. He's your friend too. You feel really bad and don't think much of her for that but recognize the relationship was bad for everyone involved.

She attempts to cut off contact with him. He keeps pressuring her to talk. She tells him to bug off. She goes no contact, because everyone recommends you go no contact.

But he doesn't bug off. She keeps getting emails from him. Really angry, ranting emails, where he goes over everything she did in the relationship. He sounds like he wrote them while drunk. She tries to ignore them, but they keep coming. She tells him to stop, but they keep coming.

Would you be OK with this guy?* If this was your sister it was happening to, would you still want to be friends with Angry Email Boyfriend on Facebook? Step into someone else's shoes and re-read those emails you've sent from the perspective of a friend or sibling or mom or dad of the recipient, and ask yourself why those people would want to be friends with you, after nearly two years of sending emails like that to an ex. If "angry drunk emails" are half as bad as they sound, you wouldn't need any exaggeration on his part to lose the esteem of his friends and family.

Your behavior doesn't rate "restraining order" (though I guarantee if the genders were switched plenty of people in this thread would be at you with pitchforks and trying to find out your ex's name in order to send them The Gift of Fear). But it is pretty stalker-y, in the common use sense. You haven't lost your dignity, you've tossed it away and then dropped bombs on it.

The good news is it's possible to recover your dignity, and one day you can look back on these actions with regret and the relief of someone who knows they've changed enough to never ever repeat them. PLEASE DO THIS:

1) Stop contacting the guy (duh)
2) Stop drinking, since it's setting you off
3) Go see a therapist. We all to regrettable things in the wake of tumultuous breakups, but your behavior has crossed the line and indicates you are dealing with your anger and emotions in an extremely unhealthy and abnormal way. To expect him to give you "a kind word" though you know he's an asshole and have sent him years of angry drunk emails? That indicates a pretty severe disconnect with reality vis-a-vis the appropriateness of your behavior and a lack of understanding of the consequences of your actions.

*Other commenters, would YOU be OK with this guy, and think the woman was driving him to write these emails, and had programmed him to respond to his anger in this way, and his dignity was still intact and the emails were all her fault?
posted by Anonymous at 8:45 PM on August 21, 2013

Mod note: Seriously this is not a group discussion with other commenters and do not, for any reason, turn it into one. People can MeMail schroedinger to talk about this further, do not talk about this here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:51 PM on August 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

You really, really need therapy to get you through this and shed anger. You'll never get any answers and it's possible to be okay with that.
posted by discopolo at 7:35 AM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

So, your behavior in this situation is not ok, and I strongly disagree with the idea that you're somehow sticking it to him in a righteous way for what he did. All you're doing is confirming for him and everyone in his life that he was right to break up with you, and even righter to have no contact with you after that. If any friend of mine was getting these kinds of emails from an ex, I would also completely disassociate myself from that ex, including blocking on all social media (blocking, rather than just unfriending, because you are behaving like an unbalanced person who doesn't respect boundaries). It sounds like you're right to be angry. But that doesn't matter because you've ceded the high ground here. Once again, if a friend of mine told me he was still getting angry emails from an ex a year after a breakup, I would not be interested in hearing her side of the story. I'd assume that she was crazy and that he was well rid of her. I don't actually think that you are crazy, but your behavior here is, from an outside perspective, indistinguishable from how a crazy person acts.

All of that said, I actually don't think this is about him at all. The reason why is that these emails don't come as a result of things that he does. They come when you're feeling bad about other stuff. What that tells me is that your actually problem is that you're not able to appropriately process negative emotions, and that you've made this guy's poor treatment of you into a container for all of those emotions.

So, what to do? 1. Is never, ever, ever contact him again. 2. is therapy to help you learn some productive responses for feeling down that don't involve lashing out at people, whether or not they deserve it. And 3. may I gently suggest that you take a hard look at your relationship with alcohol, to make sure that it's not the real problem here?

Good luck. You can 100% put this behind you so that it becomes the kind of slightly embarrassing episode that we all have in our pasts.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:14 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

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